ViVE 2023: First Dollar Recap

Learn about First Dollar's time in Nashville for the ViVE 2023 conference.

First Dollar sent five teammates to Nashville this year to the "cool kids version of HIMSS" conference. Honestly, sending five people was probably too many people for our sales-related efforts. But as a nice bonus from our conference extravaganza, you get this blog post recapping our time at the conference. (This blog post is written by one of those blessed with an extra ticket.)

Here are some of the highlights and thoughts from our time at ViVE 2023. Did you go to ViVE? We’d love to hear your thoughts about the conference as well. 

AI is a topic on everyone’s minds in real life as well.

Similar to life on the Internet, everyone at ViVE was also busy chatting about the possibilities of artificial intelligence for healthcare. 

The panel for the AI Strategies Getting into Formation* session. In a true Music City twist, all ViVE 2023 session titles were a play on popular song titles.

The acronym “AI” appeared in seven session titles and twenty-eight times in session descriptions for a total of thirty-five appearances in the 2023 agenda. For context, AI appeared in three session titles last year. People were talking about AI in Nashville. 

Here are some of my favorite conference quotes on the topic:

Any time we do something, we need to be clear about the why.

Michelle and her fellow panelists referenced the “Why?” principle throughout the AI Strategies Getting into Formation session. To alleviate employees’ fears about losing their jobs to technology, they suggested framing AI as a tool to help relieve employees of the burden of repeatable tasks to enable them to work on more exciting projects. And for doctors’ fears about losing patient interaction time, they suggested naming AI as a tool to enable doctors to spend more time with patients and less time doing paperwork. Name the why, and share it with everyone on the project.

We are not going to have robots replace doctors. We’re going to have doctors who use technology replace doctors who do not.

Melynda made her comment above after a previously made Terminator reference. She followed her quote with practical use case examples, highlighting how physicians cannot remember every single variable for their patients—but technology can. By leveraging AI, healthcare can improve care and outcomes, and Melynda pushed us to use AI to solve health disparities. 

Industry Datapoint: Health care spending on AI software is expected to grow 40% in 2023.

Health equity was the most common session topic—not AI.

The NHIT Health Equity Leadership Breakfast at ViVE 2023.

Last year, equity was featured in eight session titles. This year? 14. In total, equity appeared 47 times in ViVE 2023's session titles and descriptions.

These quotes on health equity stuck with me:

Many CEOs think that health equity is just a Medicaid problem. And that’s just wrong.

In Getting Real about Employer Expectations for Quality Healthcare, Dan said that health inequities are also a challenge for commercial healthcare. He challenged more employers to stop putting their heads in the sand and have the courage to look at their data for potential inequities. Praising Kaiser Permanente for their willingness to share health equity data publicly, Dan called for other large insurers to follow their examples. What if we had a form of Medicare Advantage star ratings for commercial health plans concerning health equities?

At this conference and other conferences, we talk a lot about advancing health equity, but what it requires is a shift in power. And part of that is how we we disseminate resources.

I loved this quote from A Rainbow of Health Insights session. Talking about advancing equity is one thing, but being about the advancement of equity is quite another. For examples of action, Darrell discussed equipping community-based organizations to be health service providers and make the change their communities desire.

Health Disparity Example: Most guidelines currently recommend that annual colorectal cancer screening start after age 50. A study found that starting annual colorectal cancer screening at age 45 in African Americans finds colorectal cancers at a rate similar to the age 50 guideline for others.

Other notable conference quotes

Here are other conference quotes from the conference that I’m still thinking about. 

  • “It’s actionable advice—not a pdf left in the drawer.”- Sarah Mastrorocco, VP & GM, Instacart Health on food-as-a-medicine
  • “Fragmentation is not a digital healthcare problem, it’s a healthcare problem.” - Melynda Barnes, MD., Chief Medical Officer at Ro
  • "We have to find a way to integrate the data from all of those experiences to understand and connect with the complete picture of that individual. What should they do next? -Karen Hanlon, EVP, Chief Operating Officer at Highmark Health on simplifying healthcare.

The panels were good, but the people were better.

It was great to see so many healthtech friends in-person after dialoguing with many of them over Slack, Zoom, and other inadequate replacements for in-person interactions. And it was great to see that so many people were indeed as wonderful and friendly and smart as they were online. Personally, I’ll never forget the booth visitor who asked me to speak louder as she had lost hearing in her ear from a bombing in Ukraine a few weeks ago. It was a solemn reminder of some of the realities outside the conference walls.

Pausing to honor the victims of Covenant School.

The conference paused on Monday to honor the victims of the Nashville Covenant School shooting.

It would be remiss to discuss the events of a conference held in Nashville this week without acknowledging the Covenant School shooting. I learned about the tragic event through a booth passerby. Later, I was at the Country Stage when Jonathan Weiner, CEO of HLTH, held a moment of silence to remember the victims. He also announced that ViVE would organize a relief fund for the victims and donate $50,000 to said fund. As of March 31st, the fund had raised $69,218 of its $75,000 goal. You can donate to the fund here

Datapoint: Firearms are the leading cause of death for children in the United States.- KFF 

Reflections from Booth #1237

First Dollar Enterprise Sales Executive, Rudy Portillo, and Chief Product Officer, Colin Anawaty at the First Dollar booth. (If you look closely to the left side of the screen, you'll see WorkWeek Hospitalogy creator, Blake Madden, on the prowl for conference scoops.)

I asked my colleagues for their reflections on ViVE 2023. 

  • “VIVE was one of the better conferences I’ve been to in recent years. The turnkey booths, while pricey, did give the exhibit hall a cleaner and more modern vibe. Only issue was that the offsite sponsored happy hours were much more popular than the one in the exhibit hall, so anyone left working their booth ended up with FOMO.” - Brett Banhazl, Sales Operations and Events Manager
  • "VIVE 2023 showed me that health care innovation is alive and well despite the macro-economic challenges. Entrepreneurs, health systems, health plans, and providers of all shapes and sizes are coming together to improve the status quo. The passion to do better is infectious." - Colin Anawaty, CPO and co-founder
  • “We had a blast. Professionally run and everyone you already know and want to meet in one room. What’s not to like?” - Jason Bornhorst, CEO and co-founder
  • “Somewhat overwhelming in its size and complexity, the people inside the space are lovely —just like healthtech. ViVE 2023 had good vibes. - Josh Hostetler, Senior Content Strategist
  • "Everyone at the conference is fiercely adamant about changing the status quo to improve healthcare for good. People are inspired and energetic about new technology to shift from reactive to proactive care." - Rudy Portillo, Enterprise Sales Executive
Josh Hostetler

Josh leads content for First Dollar, a fintech company that builds infrastructure for health spending benefits. Before First Dollar, Josh led course creation at Aceable, taught First Grade, waited tables at Olive Garden, and wore many other hats. He misses the breadsticks.